Spotlight: The Bushrangers, August 1830

Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), Thursday 12 August 1830, page 3


To the Editor of the Sydney Gazette.


I beg leave most respectfully to offer a remark, and to venture a suggestion at the same time; on the subject of bushranging; if unworthy of your notice, a hint “to Correspondents” will suffice.

There is a truly liberal reward for the apprehension of John Donohoe, per ship Ann and Amelia, whose name has been the terror of the settler for many months; and there is also a similar reward for the capture of his coadjutor, Underwood. This munificence on the part of the Government has aroused the energies of the constabulary of Parramatta, Windsor, and Penrith; and to it may be attributed that impetus in every quarter for the honour of their capture; but as it has been ascertained, beyond a doubt, that Underwood is not one of Donohoe’s present accomplices, but that he is secreted in the district of Illawarra, or in that direction, where he was formerly intimately acquainted and closely connected; and as it is on record in the Windsor Police Office, that James Walmsley, or Womersly, ship Minerva, stands charged on oath with the wilful murder of Mr. William Clements, and further with the highway robbery on the person of Chilcott; it appears necessary that a special reward should also be offered for such a character, equally guilty with the notorious Donohoe. About ten months ago these two desperadoes were joined by Wm. Webber, ship Minstrel, an absentee from No. 20 road party, and they now commit their depredations in company.

I would therefore, as a common observer, most respectfully beg leave to remark, that should the constabulary fall in with these determined characters, whose very situation impels them to fight, the constables may be killed or wounded, and although they capture two out of the three, and Donohoe escape, there is at present only the pitiful reward of eight dollars each, a sum allowed for the apprehension of a prisoner illegally at large more than 80 days, although he be taken from the plough in the humble employment of some misguided settler. No doubt the Government would take any meritorious conduct into its consideration; but at the same time ignorant people are allured by certainties, and it is no trivial incentive to valour, to reflect that “Fifty pounds, and a grant of land” will render a poor man and his family that certain independence through life, in these times not easily acquired in trade, even with the most unremitting exertion and industry.

Although I am but a very humble individual, I trust you will accept the importance of the subject in excusing myself for troubling you, and most respectfully beg to subscribe Sir, your most obedient, and very humble Servant,


Windsor, August 2, 1830.

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